Tag Archives: drinking

Only Way to Go

Ephesians 2:8-10

        Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

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From the moment we say YES to God He begins our road map.  Wait, even BEFORE we say yes, He has a road map for our lives.  How does that make any sense?  I am still trying to wrap my brain around God, but this is one of those things that some times just does not make any sense.  If He planned our lives out as it says in Jeremiah 29:11 and before we even born at that, then does that mean He knows that some do not choose salvation or does it mean they miss out on their destiny if they don’t accept Jesus as their savior? Sigh!  The things that go on in this head of mine!

 

Let’s just think for one moment.  What happens when a person accepts Jesus?  Well, they are now heaven bound simply because they choose Jesus as their savior.  They also have this wonderful easy button now called grace.  Another bonus is that God will always be their provider, their protector in troubled times, their comforter in the sad times and so many more bonuses here on earth when they choose the one way of God.  Here is where things can get a bit tricky for some.

 

When we are saved by His grace, it is not a license to sin or still do whatever we were doing before we knew God.  Once we step onto that bridge of grace, we should begin to have a less of a desire for the things of this world and this very strong desire to serve God.  As He renews our mind, we begin not to want to drink so much or smoke cigarettes.  We begin to have this desire for solid, pure relationships.  Perhaps we finally begin to like who we are as a person.  No matter what happens to us we will always have the grace of God and He will quickly forgive our sins when we ask.

 

So all in all, there is only one way to salvation. There is only one way to travel and as many of us discovered, the path IS narrow!  Once we finally discover that we belong to God and it is by His grace alone we will get to see heaven, then we find peace…perfect peace. We begin to see that we can face ANY storm in our path.  We find that we could walk the bridges of our lives even with our eyes closed because we have faith in a loving Father Who will take our hand and guide our every step.  Now, isn’t that some peace to hold onto?

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The Christian Hokey-Pokey

Revelation 3:16

          But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

  Galatians 5:22-23NLT

            But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

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 Do you remember the children’s song The Hokey Pokey?  It is a song where you physically have to move and place parts of your body into the circle.  You start with your hands then your feet, move on to your shoulders and then your hips.  As the song progresses, eventually you put your whole body in the circle.  Fun song to dance to and really great for getting everyone involved, but I feel God showed me something the other day related to the Christian walk.

Let’s say the inner part of the circle is the world and the place where we stand is the new creation in Christ which occurred when you asked Jesus into your heart.  When we decide to allow Jesus to be the ruler of our lives we are covered by grace, forgiven of past, present and future sins and as we begin to seek the face of God we begin to make better choices regarding our lives….right?  Well sometimes we as Christians still like to put our hands and feet into sin or return to familiar places from the past.  It might start our small and then you add another part of you, suddenly your whole-self is in the world and you have forgotten you were a Christian at all.

Let’s use drinking as an example.  (not picking on anyone it’s just for example purposes)  I will even use myself as the model.  I accepted Jesus when I was six.  Tried to live the good life.  Was kind to everyone and tried my best to be good.  At the age of 12 I was in a regular church going every Sunday and Wednesday, I surely was on my way to living the Christian life, then peer pressure arrived on my doorstep.

You may not think that I am the type of person who does things just to fit in, however I still have my days where I feel very insignificant in this world.  I started drinking with a few of my friends at one of their houses.  We did it the “safe” way.  Keys were taken and everyone stayed the night.  I wasn’t sure if it was what I wanted to do but after years of being teased at school I chose to “fit it” and go with the crowd and drink.  It turned into pretty much a weekly process…Brenda would drink and be the first one passed out on the floor after getting sick….yup my version of fitting in.

As I got older and could drink in the bar I would drink and dance, wear things really not appropriate and I will share something with you that I have not spilled out to too many people but I feel it is significant for someone reading this.  One night after several drinks the bar tender invited me to his house.  Long story short I ended up under the covers with him and if I ever had believed in God, I really felt His presence in that moment.  It was like suddenly I was sober just before I wandered into something that would have ruined my life, God gave me the sound mind to get out of the situation.  I pushed him away and jumped out of bed, got dressed and ran.  I think God was protecting me from something horrible in that moment.  This ended my bar days, yet there was more to come, I was not done with drinking yet.

Soon after this I met my first husband and we drank together but not a lot.  I remember my 21st birthday party in my dad’s garage where I asked him when he was going to ask me to marry him (mind you we had only dated for 2 months) and he asked me on the spot.  Both totally drunk, I found out YEARS later that he had told his best friend that he had hoped I was too drunk to remember he had asked.  Eventually I lost my desire for drinking, mainly due to the fact that after the birth of my son, I decide someone needed to be sober for my child. .

Do you see what I mean about being Christian but really dabbling in the world?  Once I decided to have Jesus in my life I should have been staying away from sin but instead, only because I wanted to fit in, I chose to drink.  Satan took that one time of saying yes and ran with it.  I am sure he was out to ruin my life, however God had other plans.

The point of all of this is that when we choose to be saved by grace we need to learn how not to live halfway in the world and the other half for Jesus.  We should be at a place where we want to sin less and please God more.  God desires us to be on fire for Him and if we are playing Hokey Pokey it is hard for people to see God at all in our lives.  We should be displaying God in our daily lives by not swearing or hurting other people with our words.  We should be careful what we post on Facebook especially if we are part of a ministry…what is appropriate for adults may not be for the young teens you are ministering too.  I am not perfect and I have my moments, yet I know in my heart of hearts we have to choose to represent God to the world or be turned away from Jesus for being lukewarm.

 

If Only Land

Romans 7:19

I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
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How many times have we said out loud to anyone who would be willing to listen, “If Only…” and then we spew out some idea of how we should have done something differently?  I know from my person experiences that I could list one million, seven-hundred and eighty-three examples for you, however for the purposes of blogging I will only pick one.  Twenty-three years ago I decided to date and marry a man whom I thought I could change.  If only he had stopped drinking.  If only he had not decided not to turn to prescription meds.  If only I had been following the Lord…..
Do you see how destructive these two words can be?  How many are stuck in a depressed state right now because they dwell in the kingdom of if onlys?  I know for me I played right into that game for awhile until I began to surrender some things to God, knowing that at that point in my life, I was in control not God and my marriage choice was not what He had desired for me.  Now, was I in love, yes.  Was a happy at times, yes.  Did good things come from the marriage, yes.  So why was I playing the “If Only” blues?
Because I had decided from the get go that I was going to fix my husband.  I figured if I dragged him to church enough times he would just come to know God like I did.  I felt if I gave all of me whenever I could, he would become happy with me and not the drinking.  I wanted so much to “make” the picture perfect family:  A happy husband, two kids and dog.    I am not sure when I realized this was not reality but as I slowly began to lose who I was as a person, it was too late.  If only I had done things differently.  If only I had loved him more.  If only I had been more respectful of my own self. If only I loved myself enough to say enough is enough before my whole life spiraled out of control.
Having said all of that, IF I had changed any of the above things, I would have missed out on two beautiful kids.  I would not have had the life experiences which have led me to where I am today with the ability to love others in a capacity I may not have ever achieved. Yes I went through a lot, yet it has shaped me into who I am today and brought me closer to God than I could ever have imagined twenty some years ago.  I am a stronger person now having experienced the life I did and I believe God knew all of this ahead of time.  When we choose to go beyond what God has already planned out because of our free will, He then works out a way for us to return to His grace and love (not that He ever stopped loving us) much like the prodigal son.
Are you playing the “If Onlys”?  Have you perhaps taken up permanent residency in If Only Land?  My encouragement to you would be start to surrender.  Accept that with your free will you get to pick where you go in life, but if you go too far and are unsure of how to get back to God it is so simple to do.  It is as easy as saying “If Only You will forgive me and lead me in the right direction, I surrender my circumstances to You, God…lead me.”

How Long Will it Be?

Psalm 119:81

 I am worn out waiting for Your rescue, but I have put my hope in Your word.
Psalm 69:3

I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping,waiting for my God to help me.
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I have been blogging a bit about giving it all up and carrying luggage around.  I have shown how these things work in my life and now I am moving forward step by step, little be little into the realm of my destiny just like God promised me.  How long did this take….hmmmmm..YEARS!  I went through some experiences and had some valley walks which made me stronger in the Lord and more at peace than ever before.  Sometimes we get caught up on the how long God? and the when it is gonna happen Lord? that we can’t wrap our minds around what is going on.  We live in a now society and sometimes we think God should be that way all the time too!
When we are surrounded by our life and it is not going so well, what are we doing to change our circumstances?  How do we change our positions so that God can actually work on our behalf?  Why do we think that it is always God that needs to do something?  Perhaps we fail to realize that things sometimes just take time.  Maybe there are other factors which are related to your circumstance that you cannot see.  Let’s just use my past marriage as an example.
I stood by my husband year after year wanting things to change.  When he stopped drinking I was excited until I saw what drugs was beginning to do to him.  Man, I felt stuck so what did I do?  I quit on God.  Yup, gave Him up like it was Lent and I was fasting something I really needed!  I was willing to give up the one thing that would get me out of the mess I was in just for the sake of trying to keep my family together.  I was in a place where I felt guilty that I had chosen against God’s will.
So how did things change?  Well for one it still took time for my miracle to occur.  I had to position myself with God again and as soon as I realized that I needed God, He began to change me, not my situation.  So many times we just want a quick fix and do not realize we might have been part of the problem.  We expect God to fix those problems in our lives, not seeing that we are the ones in need of fixing as well.  As God begins to heal your brokenness , He starts showing you the people and circumstances that you need to forgive.
With me the startling factor in the working of my miracle was that I needed to forgive myself.  Yes, myself.  I had to realize that I was beating myself up daily for the mess I had gotten in to.  Once I decided to forgive me, that is when things began to change.  I was able to receive God’s love.  I was able to forgive people in my life.  I was able to love again because I was beginning to love myself.
Are you waiting for God or is He waiting for you?  Are you wondering when your miracle will happen or if it even will?  I challenge you to stop looking at your circumstances and trying to figure out what God will do next or when He will actually move on your behalf, instead, look at you.  Do you need to forgive yourself? Do you need to let some luggage go?  Do you need to stop giving in and start giving up?  What is your next move, God is waiting to see what you will do.